While more details are still forthcoming, news broke late Sunday evening on social media that Titi Branch, co-founder of the famed curly haircare brand Miss Jessie’s had passed away. Born on June 10th, 1969, Titi Cree Branch died on December 4th, 2014 in what online media publication NV Magazine is calling an apparent suicide due to asphyxia.
Update: On Sunday, December 21st, 2014, Miko Branch released the following statement on the Miss Jessie’s Facebook and Instagram pages:
My beloved sister, Titi Cree Branch passed away on December 4, 2014.
A private memorial service in her honor was held on December 14, 2014. Titi is now at peace.
My family and I want to thank you for your love and overwhelming
support, delivered in kind words, warm notes, lovely flowers and, of
course, in heartfelt prayer. We have received them all with gratitude
and appreciation. During this difficult time, please know that your
support provides much ease to our bereavement.
Our family and close friends are actively trying to discover and comprehend the events leading up to Titi’s death but we are hopeful that all things will come to the light.
Your love has given me the strength that I need to continue to move forward in tribute to Titi.
Titi had a special combination of personality traits, such as genuine
kindness, attentiveness, and a willingness to share her love without
I wished she would have stayed longer. Titi has gone home and it gives me comfort to know that she has reunited with our beloved grandmother, Jessie Mae Branch.
My sister touched many lives in a deeply meaningful way, and many of you have generously asked if there are additional ways in which you can be of assistance. It would be of great reassurance to me if you will help me to keep Titi’s name and legacy alive, and to spread the good word about what a great woman she was ~ a wonderful person of invention and innovation.
I’ve found happiness in putting together a short video that features
Titi as the big sister that I will always love and remember. I hope
you enjoy it too.
The Branch and Matsumoto Family
The Miss Jessie’s Family
Various friends and acquaintances of the Branch sisters have expressed their sentiments about Titi’s passing on social media, including one friend who shared via Facebook, “It is a tragic moment in time. The family got together today and we celebrated Titi. The love was intense.” A video tribute titled My Titi by Andre Robert Lee set against the backdrop of Frankie Beverly and Maze’s Before I Let Go can be viewed below, and closes with a final look at Branch’s obituary. Titi’s sister Miko sent out a tweet yesterday, “Titi <3” to her followers as well.
Titi Branch began her career in natural hair care in 1997, when she opened Curve Salon in Brooklyn, New York with her sister Miko. It was at this salon that Titi played an integral role in shaping the natural hair landscape for years to come. Titi developed, named, and popularized the “shingling” method — a method many naturals (including myself) utilize to thoroughly distribute product and define curls. Although she wielded a degree in Consumer Economics from University of Maryland, Titi became the driving force behind Miss Jessie’s transformation into a natural household name with her creativity and kitchen experimentation. In 2004, she developed Curly Pudding, the first Miss Jessie’s product to be sold in their salon (which in 2005 was re-named for their family matriarch, Miss Jessie). Other formulations and product soon followed, including Curly Meringue, Curly Buttercreme, and Baby Buttercreme.
What started out with two sisters, a salon, and a jar of pudding, has blossomed into a comprehensive curl care line of over a dozen products — including my personal favorite, Pillow Soft Curls. With Titi’s contributions, Miss Jessie’s products grew beyond the salon, and fill the shelves of Target stores, CVS, Ricky’s, Duane Reade, Walgreens, Walmart, and other beauty retailers.
Due to the details surrounding Titi Branch’s death being unconfirmed, we at Black Girl Long Hair will not speculate on the cause or circumstances that lead to her passing. We do, however, send an outpouring of love, support, prayers, and positive vibes to Miko and the rest of the Branch family as they mourn the loss of their beloved.
Titi was a pioneer and trailblazer in her on right, and her contributions to the natural hair industry will not soon be forgotten. Rest in power, peace, and love, Titi.
Because this is a sensitive subject matter and there are friends, family, and fans openly grieving the loss of Titi Branch, we ask that readers refrain from negative, controversial, or inflammatory comments.